Andy Friend urged his team to have more belief when things are going wrong and promised that's the key to Connacht’s development.

Leinster and Connacht went toe to toe for almost 40 minutes at the RDS last night, the visitors giving as good as they got in their United Rugby Championship meeting.

They trailed by seven at the break and by 14 soon after when Jordan Larmour ran in off a set-piece move.

Friend reckoned that’s when they let their heads drop.

"They stayed in the game for longer," he told RTÉ Sport when asked what the difference between the sides was.

"That’s what we’ve got to learn. When we stayed in the game I thought we were really good and that’s the bit where we got to continue to believe as a group.

"We have to enjoy that struggle.

"The first try we got and then there was a struggle, they got a try and it was a good struggle, we got a try and it was good struggle, they got another one.

"It was a great game of rugby for the first 40 minutes. I thought the one after half time hurt us."

Despite going down 47-19 and missing out on a bonus point, Friend, whose side had won their last two in impressive fashion, was inclined to be optimistic.

"[I’m] not disheartened, disappointed with elements of that," he said.

"There were some really good things in there. I thought the tries before half-time and the one after half time were the two that really hurt us.

"As we grow as a team you go down 14 points, you still got to have belief, to know you can come back, even though it’s Leinster.

"I question whether we had that belief.

"Then we went down 21 points, and then we found something again and we get a score. That’s part of our own fortitude that we’ve got to continue to grow.

"We knew they were going to bounce back [from defeat to Ulster], they are a very good rugby side and the scoreline probably shows the difference between us."

Connacht managed three tries but fell short of claiming a bonus point, however, the Australian hinted that he was less than impressed by the officials’ call not to award a try when Oran McNulty appeared to beat Ryan Baird to a ball bouncing around in the Leinster in-goal area.

"I thought he [got it down] too, but it’s hard to see the angle when you don’t look at it," he said.

Connacht face Stade Francais next Sunday in Galway in the first round of the Champions Cup.